There’s a brewing sense of optimism being cast upon the Jacksonville Jaguars this year. With a new leader, head coach Urban Meyer, in charge, the team’s rise to success has been widely speculated among observers.
One Meyer disciple and current Florida Gators head coach, Dan Mullen, feels success will certainly follow Meyer in his start in the NFL. Working with the head coach at multiple landing spots (Bowling Green, Utah and Florida), Mullen knows exactly the type of coach Meyer is and why he has become known as one of the best football coaches of all time.
“I think one of the biggest things with Urban, and I was really fortunate because we went to three very different locations with him, okay, is when you take your plan as a head coach, you take ‘Hey, this is our plan to win. This is our program,’ you take this guidebook of ‘This is how I’m going to run the program,’” Mullen said at his pre-spring press conference last week.
“You use it very much more as an outline than a specific. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned.”
That’s a key tenant to what has made Meyer so successful in the collegiate game. His ability to grow and adapt to new surroundings has elevated his game to new heights, earning him three national titles, two while at Florida, and one while at Ohio State.
That ability to change, while still following the basic tenets of what has made him so successful in the past, will be what he hopes to bring to the Jaguars. His track record proves that he’s been able to perform at a high level and his various landing spots are an indication of his ability to learn and adapt to different environments.
The NFL, however, is a different beast in and of itself. The questions Meyer will have to answer throughout his first season at the professional level will be unlike those he has ever fielded. How will success from the collegiate game translate to the NFL, and how will he adapt to the newness of it all and the difference in players?
The transition from college to the pros hasn’t always led to success for some of the best coaches in football. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a clear example of one who didn’t have much success following his departure from LSU to the Miami Dolphins. Pete Carrol’s first stint in the NFL with the New York Jets and New England Patriots certainly didn’t work out, either.
So, what makes Meyer any different?
“Whether it’s NFL to NFL, college to the NFL, NFL back to college, I think there’s a lot of different circumstances that go on within organizations sometimes. The easiest thing to do is say this coach was successful here but not here of why that didn’t work,” Mullen said of Meyer’s potential success in the NFL.
“But I do think Urban’s a guy that’s a great head coach, great leader, great motivator of players obviously, and his staff and people that work for him does a great job of developing them. He always surrounds himself with great people. He sets a very high standard and sets the bar extremely high within the organization and has been successful everywhere he’s been.
“So you’d think he’d be successful with the Jags and them being one of our local teams. Our other local teams had a pretty good year. You know Bruce Arians did an amazing job with those guys coming together and it was great to see the Bucs win the Super Bowl. That was pretty awesome.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were successful. They went on to win their final seven games of the season, including the Super Bowl. Certainly, Tampa Bay is ahead of Jacksonville in terms of where each franchise is in its respective rebuilds, however, the outline of success is there, and it appears, at least according to Mullen, Meyer is ready for the challenge.